It’s all part of it.
It’s Saturday night here in Rome. 11:30…. 11:38 actually. I napped for a couple hours earlier today because I thought my head was gonna explode and that I was gonna puke. Neither things happened, you’ll be glad to know but I did strip down for a mid afternoon nap. It was nice and needed. I’ve been in this bizarre eternal hangover for like three days. I think its because I’ve been drunk for like…. what? Seven days? No. Eight days? No. Six months?
This week has been especially intense however and culminating on Christmas Eve with my drinking boxed wine (all class) like its was distilled water…. I’ve felt like I might pass out dead since my niece got me up to open presents on Christmas morning. As I rubbed my eyes and thought that if I moved my head, it might fall off or worse, I might have to get up….. I thought…. how terrible that THIS is this child’s uncle she’s waking up on Christmas morning. This Chardonnay soaked weirdo she’s dragging out of bed is…. family.
Then I remembered my own magical Christmas mornings, and my own Chardonnay soaked weirdos running the show and never once did they not manage to pull off a feat of magic. Needless to say however, I’ve been feeling abnormally hungover since then.
The few days immediately following Christmas seem to me, some of the most depressing days of the year. There’s always such an enormous WHAT NOW feeling…. and no one ever seems to have the answer. I’ve eaten enough to last me until next year, I’m hung over from drinking my weight in booze, the presents are open, and everyone is getting a tad bit antsy. There’s a general sense of GET ME OUT OF HERE on most people’s faces…. whether they’re at home, at a store, at a resturant. The ‘Merry Christmas’ banners should be changed to: The party-is-over-mother-fuckers.
On Christmas morning I couldn’t help but be struck with a weird sense of bewilderment. As I looked at this sea of packages from my family, as we ripped through the paper, around the glowing tree, in the early early morning with Willie Nelson singing “Pretty Paper…. Pretty Ribboooooon” in the background….. I thought…. what a strange tradition all of this is. What with the weird ritualistic routines we all follow, the fictional characters, the endless market attached, the insane stress causing everyone to be on their wits end by the end of it all…. it’s strange. Very strange. And I found it all very depressing for a moment…. I felt kinda guilty about it…. and that the whole thing seemed incredibly bleak. I was so happy with all my gifts, with everything but I couldn’t help but notice that for some reason the sadness of it all seemed palpable and I couldn’t ignore it.
I took a deep breath and looked at my adorable niece…. five years old…. and totally bewitched by the magic of it all, having the time of her life, overwhelmed…. and I thought how heart breaking it is that she’ll have to grow up past this, and stand back one day and look at it all…. and perhaps wonder the same things I was wondering myself right then…. in that moment. It all just seemed sorta like a waste. You can’t take it with you (word up Kaufman and Hart)
But. It’s all part of it. Thats what I told myself all day and into the night. It’s all part of it.
Despite all of that, there is a sense of magic still there. No matter how insane I might think they are at times, how frustrating, or intense it all might be… its really nice to be with my family…. to attempt to maintain these traditions we’ve kept up for years and years…. to recognize, without saying it, the ones we’ve lost, the things that have changed, and the things that will no matter what we do, change someday. There’s a great happiness to all of this, and most of the time, one that is far greater than any sort of sadness and or strangeness. Which is what makes it Christmas.
And it’s all part of it.